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Mental health support line available

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Texas Health and Human Services has launched a 24/7 statewide mental health support line to help Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This new resource offers COVID-19-related mental health support for all Texans, the agency said in a news release last month.

People can call the statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line 24-hours-a-day, 7- days-a-week toll-free at 833-986-1919.

“Through this new effort, we are connecting Texans with mental health professionals who can help provide support to those who are feeling overwhelmed and stressed,” said Sonja Gaines, deputy executive commissioner for Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health Services. “It can be helpful to talk to someone when you are facing anxiety, depression and stress, which are not uncommon to experience in the face of a rapidly changing situation like a pandemic.”

Operated by the Harris Center for Mental Health and the state, the support line offers trauma-informed support and psychological first aid to those experiencing stress and anxiety related to COVID-19.

Counseling services are confidential and free of charge to people who call the hotline.

For general health-related information and precautions on COVID-19, people can visit the webpages for the Texas Department of State Health Services, at www.dshs.texas.gov, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at www.cdc.gov.

Health and Human Services has a COVID-19 webpage with the latest news on HHS services and regulated providers. Health and Human Services is available online at hhs.texas.gov.

Also last month, the Hill Country Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Centers said in a news release that in compliance with federal and state guidelines governing agency responses to the coronavirus outbreak, it was temporarily closing its day services for persons with intellectual developmental disabilities, was providing injections and a limited number of other essential services at its mental health clinics but was closed to routine services like counseling, group services and assessment services.

The centers said in a news release that it was not accepting walk-in assessments but was keeping the mental health Crisis Stabilization Unit open around the clock and was focusing on providing services and support through video or audio technology.

The agency also was making arrangement to provide medication to individuals by mail or some other way that would not require them to come into the clinics for the prescriptions.

The Hill Country centers is located at 819 Water St. in Kerrville, Suite 300.

The agency said it was taking the steps to protect the health and safety of the people the centers serve along with the staff and contractors providing services for its clients.